Those of you who live and/or develop property in the American suburbs might consider incorporating intrinsic ergonomics in zoning for a more pedestrian community oriented lifestyle.
Suburbanites! You want a sustainable environment. You want to walk more and stay out of those traffic headaches. You say even the electric car uses fossil fuel. Well you got a point.
You say you don’t even know the guy the girl or the other next door. You say the only time you see them is when they are getting into or out of their car. You say you can’t have a sustainable environment or interconnected culture under these conditions.
Well the solution may be found in pedestrian centered zoning.
Intrinsic Ergonomics in Community Design
The problem with the American suburbs today is that they are vast tracks of properties zoned as residential only. This works out great if you’re a lazy bureaucrat planner or developer. But it plays havoc with peoples intrinsic ability to physically connect. In the suburbs, there is very little within walking distance where people can go for business and pleasure.
Increasing zoning for home and church businesses along with expanded business zones near public areas in the American Suburbs, may be the key to a more user friendly community. By allowing limited commerce in the home and in areas where there are already public parks, playgrounds and facilities, errands by car will become less necessary.
Optimizing Commerce and Culture in American Suburbs
Right now the suburbs in America are a sprawling impossibility for neighborhood social interaction. It can easily be a 20 minute walk or more to the nearest park school or store. This distance barrier between people’s homes, schools, parks and shops is daunting. By zoning for neighborhood home business and businesses near public areas such as schools and parks, residents will need the car less.
As this article shows, the percentage of the people affected would be over 1/2 of all Americans. It is dated May, 2015.
Nationally, 26 percent of Americans described where they live as urban, 53 percent said suburban and 21 percent said rural. (This comes close to the census estimate that 81 percent of the population is urban if “urban” is understood to include suburban areas.)
Combining Public Areas and Businesses into Community Zones
The first step would be to create a zoning model which takes into account the number of public areas within walking distance. Changing the zoning around these areas would allow people to walk and meet up with their friends or their kids and do errands at the same time.
If you were a parent for instance, you might not have to drive to pick up your kid at school so you could drive to do some errands before driving back home. Instead you might walk or bike over to school, meet up with them and do some errands at the same time.
Community zoning and the arts
Students and local artists would have a place to show their work outside of the institutional formal school or parks and rec environment. Community zones within the current suburban landscape would offer a more accessible exhibition platform for artists and musicians in the neighborhood to exhibit. Imagine local bands playing in a park or school yard on weekends for instance in a place that is not out of the way for people.
Areas could be designated for residents and parents to sell their Mary Kay and so forth at tables during daylight hours. All while the children of the neighborhood play in the parks and on school grounds. The public areas could now remain open during daylight every day and for special events because the limited commerce generated by the business activity around them would pay for security.
Imagine what you and your neighbors could create if you could hang out with your friends, play with your kids, sell some stuff and do some weekly errands, all within walking distance of your home.